A Worthy Memory kept Green.

After the Fashion of a Ballad.

June 23, A.D. 1314.

Never a braver knight has been1
Than staunch Sir Giles de Argentine,2
But where he proved it, and where he fought,3
You know not mayhap. Yet to know it you ought.4
He stood by King Edward that fateful day,5
When Bannock Burn ran red with the fray ;6
And before the pike and the claymore’s stroke7
The English forces scattered like smoke.8
The field was lost—beyond reprieve !—9
But Edward the king was loth to leave.10
They prayed him fly, but they prayed in vain,11
Till Sir Giles de Argentine seized his rein.12
Let a battle lost be all that we rue !13
Sire, would you lose us England too ?’14
’Twas all that Sir Giles found breath to say15
As he urged the monarch out of the fray.16
Around the king there gathered a few,17
Broken and bleeding, but tried and true;18
And they guarded him well with sword and shield,19
Till they bare him safe from the bloody field.20
But when they reached the edge of the plain,21
And the Earl of Pembroke had Edward’s rein,22
They slackened speed, and, along their track,23
They looked on the field of slaughter back.24
Then Sir Giles de Argentine drew rein,25
And wiped his sword on his horse’s mane.26
He gazed on his king a little while,27
Then turned him back, with a fearless smile.28
’Tis not my own wont,’ said he, ‘to fly ! ’29
And into the battle he rode—to die.30
There with his face to the foe he fell :—31
And a soldier might pray to die as well !32
The author is conscious of the impertinence of offering to keep green a memory enshrined in ‘The Lord of the Isles;’ but he ventures to think Sir Walter Scott, in
the interests of De Argentine as one of his characters, somewhat overlooked and obscured the simple bravery and chivalric devotion of a ‘knight without fear and ‘without reproach.’